Young Clinton Girls’ Soccer Team Consider State Tournament Chance
CLINTON – The Clinton High School girls’ soccer team is getting closer to qualifying for the statewide tournament, which begins next month.
The state tournament is new this year, and it’s been six years since the Gaels made the playoffs, having achieved a record 0.500 or better, for the Central Mass tournament. Division 4 in 2016.
After a 5-2 loss to Maynard in the first round of the Central Mass tournament. Athletic Directors Association (CMADA), which allows all teams to participate regardless of their record, the Gaels faced Tyngsborough in a tournament consolation match on Wednesday, after the article went to press.
According to Clinton athletic director John Smith, if the Gaels beat Tyngsborough they would end with a 7-7-2 record, which would automatically qualify them for the state tournament. Otherwise, they would have to wait to see if they qualify under the power ranking system.
“Either way, they still have a shot at it (state tournament),” Smith said. “Hopefully they come in strong, but they could rank high enough to be a lower seed in the (state) tournament.”
If Clinton does not qualify for the state tournament, the Gaels still posted their best record in six years.
“We have a young team and it has been a great season,” said Clinton coach Christine Tenneson. “We had strong contributions from a lot of different girls on the team.”
“We had several very close games,” she said.
The captains this season are Shannon Maloney senior and juniors Ava Lemanski, Ella Chiounard and Maddie Denson.
Maloney, like all of his teammates, is eager to continue the season.
“I’ve been with the team since my first year and capturing a young team has been great; we worked well together, ”said Maloney. “We are a trained and determined team. “
Lemanski, the team’s top scorer, is a central midfielder and attacker.
“This (season) is the best we’ve played in a long time,” said Lemanski. “We worked well as a team and got better with every game. Our coach is great and we have worked hard in the offseason to get there.
Chiounard is a central defender, but has played a bit in midfield.
“We have a young team with only two seniors and we have become close as a team,” said Chiounard. “The team dynamic has worked really well as we are friends on and off the pitch.
“We suffered a few losses, but I think it brought us closer as a team,” she said. “We work on the losses and then we go out and try to win the next game.”
Denson can’t wait to play more games.
“We have improved a lot and we continue to improve,” said Denson. “Our goal is to get to this state tournament, which no team has ever done.”
In addition to a solid offense, the Gaels have many strengths in defense, which are anchored by senior Thayna Ferreira.
“Thayna (Ferreira) is a rock solid goaltender and saved us goals that other goaltenders might not have scored in the corners,” said Tenneson. “She has been a great asset to us.
“Overall the defense has been strong but we have players who move a lot,” she said. “I always believed that the best players could play any position.
Ferreira, who has won four shutouts this season, is looking to be a college goalie.
“I have been a fielder, but I have always enjoyed being a goalkeeper,” said Ferreira. “Keeper is my passion and I hope to play in college.
“Last year was my first year (as a goalie) and I really like it,” she said. “I hope we will continue to play.”
Lemanski and rookie Ella Askren, the team’s second in scoring, both scored in the loss to Maynard. Rookie Ryan Michaud leads the team in assists.
“I always emphasize the contributions of all team members,” Tenneson said. “We have several players who have scored goals, Ryan Michaud has been a real playmaker for us and is one of our favorite corner kickers.
“We have scored a number of goals from corners,” she said. “We had some good set pieces from our corner kickers.”
The other juniors on the team are Abby Jordan, Allie Garreffi, Jen Arevalo, Phoenix Ramos, Kassidy Diem, Allison McKenzie and Natalia Martin.
The only sophomore is Madisyn Cunha, while Ella Houle is the other rookie on the team.
The junior varsity coach is Kate Moran, while Kelli Peete coaches the college team.